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The impactful imperative of strong CPD

The impactful imperative of strong CPD
iProspect's Bianca Best reveals why attaining CPD Gold through the IPA has helped her agency keep pace with an industry rife with change.

I was amongst esteemed company at the IPA Members' Lunch recently.

Fellowships were awarded, an incumbent president handed over the reins to his new, impassioned successor, while the most fervent agency HR and client services teams gathered to celebrate the great and the good of the IPA and our industry as a whole.

iProspect were privileged to be awarded Gold CPD accreditation - an accolade we are immensely proud of.

To achieve public recognition for our efforts in Continued Professional Development feels like the cherry on top, but there’s so much more to it than the status, a lunch and framed certificate glory.

Why does the IPA care and why do agencies need to embrace CPD?

Let’s take a look at the benefits:

1. Staff retention
It’s well documented that staff who feel nurtured are more likely to stay. Companies investing in their people are the ones who more efficiently and rapidly enjoy growth. Remember Jack Welch, ex GE CEO, making his legendary analogy around staff and plants, “plant the seeds, water them and watch them grow”.
He asserted 40% of management time should be invested in people, in exemplary line management, in training. If staff are developing both personally (confidence and competence at work) and professionally (skills, knowledge and career acceleration), then they’re more likely to be loyal to their employer, feel part of a shared journey and stick around. Invest in their knowledge expansion and they’ll reward you right back with length of service.

2. Stable environment
In a rapidly evolving organisation, and boy is the advertising industry rife with change and new tenures aplenty, reassuring a workforce that all is well and their chosen employer is a solid, stable business becomes ever more of a challenge.
High churn rates, fluid client portfolios, endless tech innovation to understand and apply, ever more promiscuous audiences (let’s target them, no them, no them!) and marketing budget cuts plus, of course, agency stresses are consistent and pretty unrelenting.
To embrace a sturdy internal strategic development plan focused on staff training and professional growth softens the whirlwind that is agency life. An internal solidity along with a varied and consistent repository of educational tools available to all reassures that stability and growth (not stagnation) is at staff fingertips. Practitioners can be better quicker, which inevitably leads to stronger agencies that can ride the storm of constant change.

3.Collective high performance
Launching training programmes to chunks of the workforce en masse drives group upskilling in one powerful swoop. At iProspect, we’ve initiated a focus on our line management layer with a six-month modular course addressing best practice.
From coaching to appraisal fundamentals, we recognise the collective impact this upskilling will have. Arm the leaders with what to do and watch it cascade down through the business.
Similarly, we’ll host dedicated client leadership training teaching the best of client services, technical training for individual channel teams and so on. Adopting this approach to educate big segments serves to drive group high performance enabling agency pillars to become more robust simultaneously.

4. Industry excellence
To win pitches, which let’s face it is a pulsing raison d’etre of any agency, we unequivocally need to be at the top of our game. Our competitive edge comes through knowledge and application of that knowledge.
Continuously advancing our understanding of the landscapes we play in is an obvious must. Charging our teams with expert insight and prescribing how to adopt it to create strategies which are on brief is where we leap ahead of the competition as an industry through innovation.

5. Personal pride
The physical act of logging CPD attainments is a rewarding one. Call it game theory (end goal an epic tower of demonstrable effort), call it OCD (appealing to the organisational chimps amongst us), call it admin (an operational mandate), whatever nomenclature you use - reporting on what you’ve personally inputted towards your own professional development is immensely satisfying.
A galleried hall of effort, time and topic all contributing to being a ‘better me’. To reflect back at the end of the year fills a bucket of hard work soup. Well done me and let’s do some more.

6. Forces best practice
The IPA’s CPD diary is magnificent at triggering a tick list of must dos. Appraisals and one to ones have to happen, not only are they hugely valuable and essential in contributing towards personal development but the IPA is watching!

7. Raises L&D to the top of the people agenda
Striving for industry recognition as CPD champions spotlights learning for both the agency leaders and broader workforce.
Heralding the fact that an agency respects and encourages personal development both internally and externally delivers a loud message that we care about education in the workplace.
In fact at iProspect we embody this to the extent that we shut half of the agency every other Thursday to release study time. (We listened to concerns that lack of time was the number one thwarting factor to learning.)
Embracing CPD is far from perfunctory.
It’s an exciting, measurable and subtly impactful part of making an agency better.

Bianca Best is Managing Partner, Exec Board at iProspect.

Discover more about our award-winning CPD programme plus 2015 Members' Lunch below.

Last updated 18/05/2015

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